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Today’s Headlines: A new global COVID-19 surge

A COVID-19 patient sits inside a car
A COVID-19 patient breathes with the help of an oxygen mask in New Delhi. The oxygen was provided by a gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship. India’s medical oxygen shortage has become so dire that the gurdwara began offering free breathing sessions with shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for a hospital bed.
(Altaf Qadri / Associated Press)

From India to Brazil, the pandemic has reached one of its worst points yet.

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A New Global COVID-19 Surge

In India, bodies of COVID-19 victims are piling up so fast that family members have to cremate them in parking lots. In Brazil, gravediggers work through the night. In Germany, the death toll has tripled in recent months and the federal government has just imposed its toughest lockdown yet.

Even as optimism abounds in the United States, where cases are in steep decline and the vaccine supply has begun to exceed the demand, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached one of its bleakest points as global vaccination campaigns sputter and new, faster-spreading variants take hold.

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A record 5.7 million new cases were reported worldwide over the last week, nearly double the seven-day average in late February. The death toll — now approaching 3.1 million — grew by more than 87,000.

Those figures have increased pressure on the U.S, which along with other wealthy countries has gobbled up most of the supply, to speed up vaccine production and distribution around the world.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— With a green light from federal authorities on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, several states resumed the use of it.

— An outbreak in Michigan has scientists worried COVID skeptics will keep the pandemic rolling.

— Understanding vaccine safety: by the numbers.

The Show Goes On

The pandemic-delayed Oscars ceremony started with a poignant speech from Regina King and ended with no speech at all by surprise best actor winner Anthony Hopkins, who did not attend in person or remotely. In between, the motion picture academy gave the best picture prize to “Nomadland” from director Chloé Zhao, who became the first woman of color to win the directing prize; lauded that film’s star, Frances McDormand, who now has more lead actress Oscars than Meryl Streep; and heard some memorable speeches from Daniel Kaluuya, who won the supporting actor prize for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and from Yuh-Jung Youn, who was named best supporting actress for her turn in “Minari.”

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The show departed from tradition in many ways, including a lack of film clips in favor of longer speeches. More than anything, though, it delivered an impassioned message that, while the movies may be down, they are far from out.

Throughout, presenters spoke in personal terms of the backgrounds of the nominees, repeatedly crediting the love of movies that had driven them from often humble beginnings to the pinnacle of achievement in film. But with viewership for earlier pandemic awards shows plummeting to historic lows, ratings were expected to be abysmal.

Didn’t watch? Here are six must-see moments.

More From the Oscars

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Fashion: glints of gold, pops of color and a return to glamour.

— The complete list of winners and nominees.

— After eight Oscar losses, Glenn Close is now tied as the most nominated actor without a win. But we’ll always have her (scripted) performance of “Da Butt.”

— Who didn’t love the Oscars at Union Station? People trying to get a COVID test, for one.

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The First 100 Days

Ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, presidents have been evaluated on their first 100 days.

For President Biden, that mark is coming up Thursday. So far, he has governed as a progressive — significantly to the left of his three Democratic predecessors on the issue of government’s role in society. That’s surprised many observers who were expecting Biden to adhere more closely to his largely centrist record shaped over four decades.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris has established herself as a highly visible partner — and, as the first woman of color in the role, a symbolically important one as the country confronts systemic racism. But is she influential?

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Plus: Columnist Doyle McManus compares Biden’s first 100 days with those of former President Trump.

More Politics

Armenian American activists welcomed the announcement that Biden had officially recognized the Armenian genocide but say the fight isn’t over. In protest, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara.

— Biden urged Americans and world leaders to speed up the shift toward clean energy, arguing last week at the close of the global climate summit he convened that fighting climate change is a challenge, but also an economic opportunity.

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— Is Caitlyn Jenner the next Arnold Schwarzenegger? Even some in the GOP are skeptical.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

— Months before George Floyd was killed, Angel Zapata Hernandez died in San Diego while handcuffed and restrained at the hands of two Metropolitan Transit Service security workers, one of whom knelt on his neck for six minutes and seven seconds.

California National Guard members feared a fighter jet would be ordered to frighten protesters last year.

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Judicial overreach? Some say a federal judge went too far in ordering L.A. to clear skid row.

— In Sacramento, legislative attempts to slow down drivers have hit speed bumps, columnist Steve Lopez writes.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Forrest J. Ackerman didn’t just collect science-fiction, horror and fantasy memorabilia on a grand scale — he kept about 300,000 pieces of it in his Los Feliz home — but he also is credited with coining the term “sci-fi.”

“My wife and I were listening to the radio, and when someone said ‘hi-fi’ the word ‘sci-fi’ suddenly hit me,” Ackerman said in an April 26, 1982, Times profile. “If my interest had been soap operas, I guess it would have been ‘cry-fi,’ or James Bond, ‘spy-fi.’ ”

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Ackerman gave informal tours of his collection to the public but eventually had to sell most of it to pay bills. He died in December 2008 at 92.

A man holds a mask.
April 1982: Science-fiction collector Forrest J. Ackerman shows off a Frankenstein’s Bride mask.
(Larry Armstrong / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken action to ban new permits for hydraulic fracturing starting in 2024 and called on regulators to evaluate phasing out all oil production in the state by 2045.

— In a partial rebuke of a lower court jurist, a federal appeals court decided that criminal defendants were not robbed of their right to speedy trials or forced unconstitutionally to remain behind bars because the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their trials.

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— Los Angeles police fatally shot a man who was wearing body armor when he drove his car into a police vehicle Saturday in the Hollywood area, authorities said.

— Esther Lim couldn’t eradicate anti-Asian hate crimes, so she made a handbook on how to report them that’s now available in several languages.

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NATION-WORLD

— Months after Trump’s election defeat, legislative Republicans in Arizona are challenging the outcome as they embark on an unprecedented effort to audit the results in the state’s most populous county.

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Iraq’s Interior Ministry said that 82 people had died and 110 were injured in a fire that broke out in the intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital tending to severe COVID-19 patients.

Indonesia’s military officially said all 53 crew members from a submarine that sank and broke apart last week are dead, and that search teams had located the vessel’s wreckage on the ocean floor.

— The International Space Station’s population swelled to 11 with the arrival of SpaceX’s third crew capsule in less than a year.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— In “Mortal Kombat,” which opened above expectations at the box office, actor Lewis Tan aims for more than movie stardom.

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— Hundreds of well-wishers gathered inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to send off DMX, the hip-hop star who died at age 50. His casket was carried aboard a monster truck.

— Famously temperamental billionaire Elon Musk will host “Saturday Night Live” on May 8 with Miley Cyrus as musical guest.

BUSINESS

TV shoots on the streets of L.A. drove a recovery in Hollywood production during the first quarter as COVID-19 infections continue to recede in the state.

— The L.A. frozen yogurt shop Bigg Chill has seen an outpouring of support after some harsh words from Demi Lovato.

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SPORTS

— After leading 7-1, the Dodgers lost 8-7 to the San Diego Padres in 11 innings. Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani’s home run helped the Angels beat the Astros, ending a four-game skid.

Chicharito scored his first MLS hat trick in the Galaxy’s victory over the Red Bulls.

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OPINION

— The House voted last week to restrict some presidential powers to bar entry of noncitizens to the U.S. in what The Times’ editorial board hopes is a promising first step.

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— The world of 2030 will be radically different from the one most of us were born into, and the global pandemic will only speed up this timeline, writes Mauro F. Guillén, a professor at the Wharton School.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Before Trump left office, the Pentagon gave control of millions of dormant IP addresses to a Florida company. (Washington Post)

— After the pandemic subsides, will you go out or stay home more? Whatever your answer, have some compassion for the other side. (The Atlantic)

ONLY IN L.A.

This house has 105 feet of beachfront, five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, and resembles the Getty Center in Brentwood — mostly because Richard Meier, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, designed both. But the price keeps dropping for billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad’s Malibu home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was just relisted for $58.5 million, down around 22% from his original ask of $75 million. Take a glimpse, for free.

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Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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